Favorite Finds

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These bits of gold are making my surface life especially lovely lately. They would make great gifts for the people you like, if it’s not too obnoxiously early to mention Christmas.

  • Harney and Sons Paris Tea – This is so delicious! Perfect for the daytime with enough caffeine to note a lift. It is reminiscent of Earl Grey because of the bergamot, but it’s more complex and dessert like with the vanilla and caramel flavors. Even with a tea bag, it tastes like something you’d steep loose leaf in a hot, polished silver tea pot in a boutique hotel. It’s a simple thing, but aren’t those the best ways to elevate the day?
  • Byredo Parfums Gypsy Water – Barneys says this fragrance features bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper berries, incense, pine needles, orris, amber, vanilla and sandalwood. Hmm, I hadn’t made the link between the Gypsy Water and the Paris tea until now. Apparently I’m drawn to bergamot. I can’t describe what this fragrance does to me without sounding distasteful. Suffice to say, it’s phenomenal. I have a sample sent to me by darling Hayley, my beauty idol and curator of all things gorgeous. I’ve been using a spray at a time and the fragrance lasts nearly 12 hours, putting me in the most incredible mood. If you doubt the power of scent and it’s connection to memory, attachment, attraction, and mood, go find Gypsy Water and prove yourself wrong.
  • True Nutrition Team Skip Protein Formula – Chocolate Coconut flavor – I sampled 4 different protein powders in 8 different flavors from True Nutrition after reading through the forums and reviews from athletes I admire. The winner was this blend of  34% Whey Protein Isolate, 33% Casein, and 33% Egg White Protein. The flavor reminds me of Almond Joys and a scoop in greek yogurt at night is about the closest I come to dessert most days. I’m trying to gain muscle over the next 6 months before my next (!) marathon, and this is the most convenient way to get protein immediately after my workouts. The blend of fast and slow digesting proteins keeps me full longer, while providing the post workout nutrition I need quickly.
  • Gabrielle Aplin’s album “English Rain” – Just a wonderful album I’ve been enjoying a lot. The studio session videos from this album are done beautifully. Aurelia has been singing the line, “Please don’t say you love me, ’cause I might not say it back”, which is the strangest thing to hear from a sweet three year old. The songs are calm, deep, and widely applicable to our heart states.
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Wish

  • A Boudin print would be nice. “Windmill in the Countryside, Morning” – Eugène-Louis Boudin, 1890

  • If I ever own a restaurant, it will be called Chez Aurelia. Say it out loud. You know you want to eat there.
  • Speaking of the darling A, I’d like to go to bed, fall asleep immediately, and sleep without waking for 8 hours. Just once a month or so and I’d be brand new and nicer.
  • Brandi Carlile’s new album, Bear Creek, on my ipod shuffle. I only figured out how to get one cd on there ages ago and have since listened to Florence + The Machine every single time I’ve worked out alone in the last year. I could use some help with that I suppose. I like women that can wail.
  • Hot, forever love.

Week’s End

It was high time Aurelia and I had a whole day together after the week we’ve had mostly apart. We slept in (Glory, Hallelujah) and had a slow breakfast. Aurelia had her egg and I blended fresh strawberries, cinnamon, and yogurt to eat over oatmeal. Old fashioned oats keep me full for half a day. The strawberries tasted like springtime. Besides, I’m still glowing from my time with the mister yesterday. Really, what a brilliant start to the day. We spent the afternoon at our house, under construction. Aurelia danced on top of nearby hay bails and moved dirt around with her sand shovel and bucket. Tonight, turkey lettuce wraps and raspberry pie. (Wish my butter crust luck.)

Two uncles, two cousins, an aunt, and my parents worked on my house most of the day, putting siding up. This is the third weekend in a row we’ve been doing the siding work. We chose James Hardie fiber cement siding and trim. It will all be painted, so disregard the color. It has a 50 year guarantee and really looks classic, while being far more durable than wood or vinyl. I couldn’t be happier with the way it looks. The time and energy my family is putting in to my home is overwhelming and makes me teary with humility and gratitude. I am so loved by these incredible, hard working people and having a home near them makes me feel part of a lineage I am so proud of. To have the hands that have known me since I was born creating the home that my daughter will grow in, is such a rare and special gift. I’m doing a crummy job explaining it, but I think you can imagine. The end result still seems far away, but I’m finding the best things are worth the work and wait.

House Lighting

The house construction is getting to the point where I’m picking paint colors, hardware, fixtures, and lighting. I’ve been doing this obtusely for some time, as I create my design aesthetic, but now is the time that actual, final decisions need to be made. This is both thrilling and panic inducing. Taking on a room at a time seems approachable, but selecting everything for several rooms I can’t visualize put together yet has been overwhelming. I want everything to coordinate, but not match and I want each room to feel different, but still cohesive as a whole house. Finally, I just had to pick what I liked and will make it come together the best I can.

The exterior siding and shutters have been ordered and will be put up next weekend! I’m going with a very classic color scheme, in and out. After many mock ups of different colors, paint samples, and house color books and blogs, I feel right about my choice to go with a white house with black shutters. It suits me. Call me boring, but my little house will have a bit of poise and hopefully stand timelessly in her rural surroundings.

Interior colors took longer to decide. Who knew whites could vary so?! I’m going with Benjamin Moore paints locally through Boise Paint and Glass. Swiss Coffee is a lovely off-white, a light shade of white with a touch of grey that can still read a little warm. Trim and kitchen will be Decorators White, for a bright, cool contrast, slight though it may be. And the balance for the eyes will be in the color Iron Mountain, which I intend to paint in a semi-gloss on all the interior doors and flatly on the stairs. Hopefully these layered neutrals will come together gracefully with fabrics, wood, concrete, tile, art, and color in accessories. Pictures will come once we’re painting. White paint samples on this white page is just too much to ask of your viewing.

What I’m excited to share with you now is the lighting. I set a budget of $1,000 for the lights and it’s taken some creativity and will require considerable assembly when the time comes to install everything. I still have to get the vanity lights for the three bathrooms, a pendant over the kitchen sink, and four outdoor wall mount lights. Canned lighting is going on the front porch, in the kitchen, and in the bonus room. Everything else has been delivered and I feel happy with my choices so far! Thank heavens for Overstock. I found a lot of higher-end styles that would have otherwise eaten my whole budget in two rooms. I also shopped Amazon and Home Depot. While I prefer to shop locally owned stores, I was really dismayed with the selection and service I got while browsing in town over the last few months. Thankfully, almost everything else for the house is being purchased at local businesses.

Entry Hall: Antique Copper Finish Glass Lantern Chandelier

Living Room: Iron 5-light Chandelier with Beige Shades

Dining Room: Cone Shape 4-light Matte Silver Crystal Chandelier

Kitchen Bar: 3 – New Yorker Pendant Fixtures, Flat Opal Glass and Brushed Pewter

Front Two Bedrooms: Transitional 2-light Flush Light Fixture

Master Bedroom: Winthrop 52 in. Brushed Nickel Ceiling Fan

Hallways and Laundry Room: Brushed Nickel 1-Light Flush Mount

Back Patio: Outdoor Rubbed Bronze Two-light Ceiling Fan

a dozen pictures in a day

1. Aurelia has her mother’s allergies on top of cutting a few gigantic molars.  Her overnight fever over the latter gave us the gift of a whole day home together. But look at that poor face!

2. Trying to salvage some flowers in new planters. We spent a good part of the breezy morning outside. I drank coffee and read a bit while Aurelia played on a slide and with her wagon, moving toys and leaves around the yard.

3. When Aurelia went down for her nap, I made a coconut cake with a chocolate ganache and shaved coconut on top.

4. I also rushed to do my hair, my nails, and put on a face mask before she got up. It’s amazing what you learn to do in 2 hours!

5. Miss A wouldn’t eat much all day and only accepted bits of strawberries, a pickle, a cheese stick, and milk for lunch. Ah, well. We watched a bit of Dora while she did some watercolor paints and I made a broth and started dinner.

6. It wasn’t long before she was ready to help. Mixing curry spices with olive oil and vinegar.

7. Cauliflower tossed with the curry oil blend. Chopped all stem and florets for roasting. Saved leaves for later.

8. After roasting at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, added in a sauteed half onion and the reserved leaves, chopped, and tossed with lemon juice.

9. A local FFA chapter from Nyssa High School is raising Tilapia and selling them at the Red Apple grocery. These two cost less than $3 together. I still had to filet and scale them a bit, then stuffed them with lemon garlic butter and onion. Salted skins and sealed in foil parcels. Baked at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then opened foil tops and broiled for 5 minutes to get some color on top.

10. Dinner, first course: curried cauliflower, roasted sweet potatoes, and grilled polenta.

11. Dinner, second course: baked whole tilapia

12. The end of our lovely day. Progress happening on my house. Today, the furnace people were there starting their work. Here you can see the back patio, and if you take a short leap of the imagination, you can see it done, with me in the garden, Aurelia following roaming chickens, something on the bbq, and our glasses of sun tea sweating by the swingset.

Airing out rooms year ’round

It will sound like such an insignificant thing, you may scoff at the type of homemaking advice you’ll now expect from this blog, but hear me out.

The success (and by that, I mean the absence of stress) of homemaking in a practical sense is very much tied to the rhythm of tasks. I do not run a pristine home, nor do I want to, but I have always been able to maintain a clean and calm one because I rely on a routine of chores, ask for help when I need it, and tackle the big organization or cleaning tasks in small bits, say a closet or pantry at a time.

This tip is for keeping your rooms fresh and circulating the air and linens each week, all year long, even during the winter. In Idaho, we have four well articulated seasons and our summers can be very hot and our winters very long and cold. It would be easy for a home to be shut up many months of the year because of air conditioners running day and night in the depth of summer and sealing in the heat through the winter. But that sort of stagnation can weigh down a space and I know you agree that a burst of fresh air wakes up a place like no other.

Each Sunday I wash all the linens. After the beds are stripped, I pull back the curtains and open all the windows in each bedroom. During the winter, I try to do this more toward the middle of the day, when the bit of sun is trying, and I close the door behind me, trapping that cold air in and keeping the warmth in the rest of the house best I can. Leave the room closed for an hour. I’m as forgetful as a goldfish, so I set a timer to remind myself. If you have a furnace or air conditioner that would normally kick on automatically, it may be wise to turn it off during that time. And really, that’s it. Open the rooms back up and close the windows. Take your freshly laundered linens just out of the dryer and make the beds again. Just like that, the beds stay clean and the rooms fresh. It will do you and your home a lot of good, I promise.